“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit.”
Before Taking Positive Psychology my thoughts about the course were that positive psychology was about being happy and looking at the brighter side to life. I thought positive psychology was about sharing your happiness with others so that they could be happy too; I proved myself wrong. Positive psychology is not just about being happy or being optimistic, it’s more than that. It’s about living a meaningful life that influences those around us and the world we live in. It’s about making a contribution that benefits you and those around you.
An Ah-ha moment for me
An Ah-Ha moment for me was learning about habits and how to commit to them. In the book, “Habits of Happiness”, the author talks about habits and the three categories they fall under. Habits can simple and instinctual to the point where we don’t even notice do them, habits can be good for us, habits can be bad for us; our habits influence our behavior. Specifically, the book focused on how bad habits can influence bad behaviors. For example, if I were to eat ice cream today and every single day, a habit of eating ice cream forms. Personally, when I eat ice cream, it is late at night. I am slouching on the couch and getting ready for bed. When I wake up in the morning to get ready for work, I am sluggish and my energy is low. I noticed also that when I eat ice cream every day I begin to gain more weight and my teeth get more sensitive. The habit of eating ice cream influences me to gain more weight, have poor dental hygiene, and lower energy to get up and start exercising.
Making the connection
Our “Habits of Happiness” book encourages us and guides us to learning how to change our old habits and form new, healthier habits. It breaks down the process of scheduling a time to dedicate to your new healthy habit. You then repeat these habits to increase your behaviors. Positive Psychology opened my eyes to being aware of the habits in my life and what I associate it with. If unhealthy habits occur, being aware of when it occurs, the time of day it occurs, and what my emotional state is will help me recognize my triggers. When I am aware of my triggers, I can be more ready to prevent those unhealthy habits from occurring. However, prevention is not the only thing we need to focus on, we also need to focus on committing to our new habits.
There needs to be enough motivation for us to create the habit and be committed to do it every day. For a new habit to form, it needs to also be convenient and easily accessible. Conversely, our old habit that prevents us from forming our new habit needs to be inconvenient and take a long to time to begin.
Making the Change
When our new habits begin to form and take shape, it increases our likelihood of being successful in establishing our habits. It makes us feel good when we succeed. The more successful we are in carrying out our habit, the more often we will do it. Creating healthy habits, from exercising to volunteering in the community, make us better people. It makes us positive contributors to ourselves, our families, and to our communities.
About the author: Maila Rondero Kaneaiakala is a Psychology major at Chaminade University. Maila’s love of psychology began when working with children with special needs as a skills trainer. She helps autistic children work on their behaviors, such as, communication, social skills, and academic skills. It is her dream to one day to obtain her doctorate in clinical psychology.